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Kebo Ketan art event to highlight environmental issues, folk art

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, October 23, 2019  /  05:22 pm
Kebo Ketan art event to highlight environmental issues, folk art

The send-off ceremony at the Kebo Ketan art event in Ngawi, East Java, on Nov. 23, 2018. (Courtesy of /Kraton Ngiyom)

The Kebo Ketan (Rite of the Glutinous Rice Buffalo) art event will be held on Nov. 8 and 9 in Sekaralas village, Ngawi, East Java.

Organized by artists Bramantyo Prijosusilo and Godeliva D Sari, the event will present contemporary ritual arts and will draw from traditions of ceremonial art in Indonesia.  

The rite is based on a narrative created by art community Kraton Ngiyom in 2014. It presents a wedding between Kodok Ibnu Sukodok and Setyowati, the guardian spirits of Margo and Ngiyom springs in Ngawi’s Begal forest. Their twin children are instructed to restore the honor of the Bengawan Solo River, the longest river in Java, by performing the Rite of the Glutinous Rice Buffalo.

The event first took place in 2016 to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. Subsequent years’ events took similar directions and were held on the weekend after the Prophet’s birthday on the Islamic calendar.

The rite aims to build social cohesion, nurture ecological awareness and revive folk art. The Kraton Ngiyom community, for instance, planted fruit trees in a 100-meter circle around the springs, which have now fruited.

Read also: Kebo Ketan: Happening art with an impact

In addition to the spring’s new circle of fruit trees, the rite inspired the birth of two new art forms, namely kronjal or keroncong jathilan (Portugese-inflected pop music for folk dance) and reog mahesa nempuh (traditional mask dance to a drum and gamelan ensemble). Musician Denny Dumbo of art-rock band Sirkus Barock developed kronjal. The masks were created by artist Agus Kama Loedin.

The two new modes of expression will be featured during the rite, which will consist of the ritual bathing of a 3-meter-high artificial buffalo created by artists Djoko Pekik, Heri Dono, Muncang and Ramon Bachtiar; the sacrifice of the buffalo by Sulawesi artist Ichdar Alfarabi; traditional dance performances; music performances by Bonita, Anda Perdana and punk band Marjinal; as well as performances by Japanese artist Satako Takaki and Australian artists Margaret Bradley and Ron Reeves.

Representatives of indigenous religions will be involved in the event, including the Javanese Buddhist Kasogatan, the Sunda Wiwitan of West Java and the Bhairawa Buddha of Kerinci in West Sumatra

The rite will be directed by Bramantyo Prijosusilo, Godeliva D Sari, Denny Dumbo, Farid Yudha Giyono Dhatnyenk and Gimbal Thoyib Bukhoeri. (wng)